I thought I might share how I recently got to be a Amazon UK BestSeller. Below is a graph showing the dates, who I used to promote, how much I was charged and how many sales I received. Hopefully, from the below you will be able to ascertain whether running consecutive promotions is something you might consider.
Books Go Social
BookBub (not on in USA)
Books Go Social
All 5 days
Total promotion cost
I reduced the price of ‘Idi & the Oracle’s Quest’ from $2.99 to $0.99 on Tues 10th Sep. On the 10th I received 3 sales and this can confidentally be accounted for by friends on FB sharing my post and also tweeting. Throughout the entire 6 days I tweeted numberous times and it is hard to know if any sales came from these tweets. I use Bitly to monitor link clicks on Twitter and in total I had 122 clicks, whether a few of these resulted in sales is hard to determine. I also can’t be 100% sure if the sales on the lines match the promoter as there would of course been a merging of promotions at certain times. This time round what was dissappointing for me where the two Amazon Ads I ran, normally these bring a much higher amount of sales.
Although I didn’t break-even during this promotion, let alone make a profit, that wasn’t the object of the exercise. The point of this campaign was exposure, to which end I am very confident to having received a measure of success.
The biggest success, of course, comes from the BookBub sales in the UK which took me to #1 and awarded me the Best Seller badge, which I can assure you I was over the moon about and opened the champagne to celebrate!
With a book only earning $0.34 per sale you can see I only received back a 5th of output. However, besides the books sales I received 6 audio sales, at a far better rate of return, and had many downloads with KDP Select, some days hitting over 3500 pages read, which in turn generates a fair income.
The last thing that upped my return were sales on my other books in the series, both book 2 and 3 sold 8 copies each at full price of $2.99.
Do I think the promotion was successful, and would I do it again – yes and in a heartbeat. It’s only been a couple of days since the promotion stopped and I’ve already had a review, just can’t beat that.
I need to start by saying thank you for narrating my books. I think you do a wonderful job of portraying my characters and bringing the stories to life. I never could have afforded to pay up front the recommended thousands of dollars for the narration of my books. Without royalty share, I can honestly say I would have no audiobooks. It really was a good day when you popped a comment onto Facebook saying you would narrate my books for me.
I have been looking into how you promote audiobooks and
during that process I came across some facts about narrating which I didn’t
know. This instantly made me appreciate
you, and Stevie Zimmerman (who narrated Grace in Mombasa) so much more. I say more, because in all honesty I did
already appreciate both of you already, today just increased it.
This got me to thinking about why you might choose profit
share and so I decided to invite you to this short interview, so that I and
others, can learn what motivates narrators.
So here we go…
What first drew you into narrating as a possible
way of making a living?
Narrating was an
idea initially for my good friend Harriet, more of a hobby than a living
What do you most enjoy about narrating?
The challenge of
different accents, the chance to read great stories and have the characters
come to life,
I understand that it can take a narrator up to
5 or 6 hours to produce 1 hour of audio, so for example, Idi & the Oracle’s
Quest is 7.15 hours long, meaning this could have taken you 40 hours – a full
weeks work, to narrate and produce. With
this in mind why were you happy to accept royalty share when there is no
guarantee of making your weeks pay up?
I enjoy narrating –
it’s a good hobby. I make a penny or two here and there but in the end it’s a
good hobby. I also get to practice voices – which I can then use if in a stage
How do you select the books you want to
Reading the blurb
can do it, reading the author’s bio can do it. There are some stories that I
always wanted to have a go at such as Sherlock Holmes – one audiobook would
have been good – so far it’s about 90!
What attracted you to the ‘Born to Be’
The story sounded
full of life and didn’t disappoint.
How did you decided on what kind of accents
my characters would have?
They seemed to come
to mind as soon as I started reading. I tried to group the witch clans with a
certain region and as new characters are introduced, pick what seemed to be
appropriate based on their speech.
With book 1 & 2 narrated on Audible, what
has inspired you to carry on and narrate the last in the series, Idi & the
Sirocco Witch, when we really haven’t had many sales for the other two books
Can’t do book 1 and
2 and leave 3 out. The sales will come to this series once people start to get
Are you enjoying book 3, and if so, what is
it that you like?
Very much – all the
characters are great, even the naughty. As
the build from book 1 and 2 has gone, Idi is indeed becoming what we expect.
The story continues as though you had never stopped writing, sometimes sequels
can have you wondering what is going on.
What acting choices do you make when you’re
going to narrate a book? When you narrate
are you expressive with your hands and face, do you feel like you become the
characters or are you simply reading?
I do fling the arms
and thankfully don’t have a mirror to hand so see the faces I pull.
What advice would you offer to people who
want to become narrators?
Pick a few small
(30-60min) projects first. This will allow you to gauge the time required to
produce a 7+ hour book. I use a spreadsheet with each chapter listed – the
start, end and total pages and current progress, a 1 for record, edit, listen
and upload. This allows you to gauge the time required a chapter – so perhaps 5
pages will take you 15 minutes or so – 15 pages 45 etc. this could allow you to
record out of sequence based on time spare on a given session. Depending on the
pagination, 5 pages can seem like a lifetime to record.
Also, if producing
older material, it will be good to have a lookup for words that have fallen out
Do you think the ACX royalty share scheme is
It allows for
authors to get an audiobook published without an upfront payment.
It allows the
narrator to want to do a good a job as possible to ensure that the book sells
What other books have you narrated?
Many – up to 150
now. Lots of Sherlock Holmes stories – published by MX Publishing and Belanger
Books. Quite a number of Horror titles, and so far 13 Hotdog Man books which
are fun to do.
Where can authors find you if they would like
to approach you to consider their books?
Via email or my Facebook profile, look for “Steevin White” – this spelling
is also due to my friend Harriet – it’s how she spells my name.
Thanks Steve! It was really interesting to get the POV of the narrator and to learn a little more about the hard work they put into producing an audio. I think I have been very lucky to get my books out there via royalty-share, so thank you very much for picking up my books.
Well wow, you would not believe that this was Sean Robins first book! At the end when I read his short bio and discovered he’s a teacher, that made sense – because the book, especially for a first novel, is beautifully edited, easy to read and well-structured.
If you’re a SciFi fan then you’re going to love this big book. It’s meaty (long and detailed) bringing all the characters to life, making you like and care for them. They’re real people, in hopefully, not so real circumstances. Normally long books lose me, but not so this one. Each chapter kept bringing everything to life, definitely could see it as a mini TV series. Loved the alien humour – who’d of guessed that four legs and antenna could host a joke prankster? I really enjoyed that you saw the ‘bad guys’ (aliens) through their own eyes so you could see each aspect of the story as it came together. Well I could go on and on, because as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this story – highly recommend. ps also loved the GOT references, nice touch 🙂
Well for me they do. If you are thinking of following the steps below to set up an ad I would suggest you do something first. Go to Amazon, put in books and then write your category in the search bar. This will bring up 400 pages of books in your category. Search for your book, if you find it then congrats you’re already doing something right. Didn’t find it? Good, now when you run the advert you will see how fab it is! Before I ran my advert for my book Grace in Mombasa I went through the 400 pages and didn’t find it. After I put my advert on the book has always appeared within the first 5 pages as a sponsored ad.
Don’t be put off by technical jargon. Just follow the steps below and if you have any difficulty please don’t hesitate to ask me a question below. Good luck!
Before you run the ad you need to do something very important. Go to Amazon.com select kindle books, then type your genre in. Look at the first five pages that come up. Make a note of the books that have lots of reviews and I mean way over 100 reviews, the more the better. Write down the author names and the book titles. Keep the list next to you when you start your ad.
Go to your kdp Amazon Direct Publishing book page
Click on promote & advertise to the right of your book
This brings up a new page, click on ‘create an ad campaign’ (you’ll probably be asked to sign in again)
Choose your campaign type is your next option. Select Sponsored Products
Give the campaign a name. It can’t include any signs such as an exclamation mark, do not include numbers. The name should be all letters, no spelling mistakes. Don’t leave two spaces after a word. Make it as tight and clean as possible. Such a fuss just for your campaign name but trust me my campaigns got rejected over and over just because I couldn’t get the name right. I now keep mine simple so something like… book title and campaign one. eg Grace in Mombasa campaign one.
Dates: leave this as it is, it will start as soon as it is authorized and you don’t want to put a close date in, if it is successful you want to run it for ever, and if it isn’t after a month or so you can go in and cancel it.
Put in a daily budget. Don’t be frightened to put in here more than you would like to spend, for two reasons, 1) I’ve never yet spent my daily allowance and 2) you will hopefully be making this money back! It really is up to you how you wish to proceed, if you are a bit hesitant then just put in $15 per day. I have set all my campaigns (yes all because I am adding a campaign once a week now) at $25 per day, I have never, ever spent this amount of money.
Underneath Daily Budget is Targeting. Select Manual targeting.
Next is Ad Format. Select Custom text ad.
Products, if you only have one book this will appear here, if you have more than one book make sure the book displayed on the right hand side is the book you want to advertise.
Next is Targeting. Select keyword targeting.
The next box is keywords and bids. It will automatically default to $0.75 – change this to $0.45. Then tick the little tiny box under it that says bid+ (this means for you to win the bid Amazon might have to increase your bid slightly, I suggest you tick this.)
You can now see ‘Suggested’ ‘Enter Keywords’ & ‘Upload file’ depending on confident you are you could upload a file. I always choose ‘Enter Keywords’.
Click in the box that is now saying, enter keywords separate by a new line. Now type your list you wrote down earlier of authors and book titles that are in your genre. Put one name or book title in, press enter and start the next one on a new line.
The next section is ‘Creative’ here you must put in your catch line to attract people to come and have a look at your book. Must be interesting and catchy. Your ad is now displayed below and you can check the catch phrase really is eye-catching. Remember we can go through all the logical steps of setting up an advert but if you don’t write something interesting here people are not going to want to look any further.
Press launch Campaign.
Hurray you did it! Good for you, so pleased you have taken a step of faith and launched yourself into the world of advertising.
It takes a while for Amazon to authorize your ad, then it takes at least 24 hours after its been authorized before your book starts having ‘impressions’ on Amazon. An impression is when your book is presented on a page in front of a prospective buyer. Reading your results and changing your ads is a whole new lesson, so maybe if anyone wants that lesson please let me know and I will do a new post in a few weeks time.
Lastly, give it a day or so and then repeat the first instruction… go to Amazon.com, select kindle books, put in your genre… now where is your book?